The second episode of our new podcast I Made It in San Diego about local entrepreneurs is out and man did it take a turn we didn’t expect.

Hosted by Scott Lewis this week, the episode features James Slatic, a pioneer in the legal marijuana movement. He is renowned in the industry for the products he brought to market and his activism as cannabis went from illegal to legal for patients to its current status as legal for all adult use in California (though still illegal according to the federal government).

Slatic’s entrepreneurial adventure however goes back well before marijuana. His roller coaster of a career went through some euphoric highs and dizzying lows before he ever started working in the industry that now knows him so well.

When Lewis recorded the show, Slatic had just forced the district attorney to return hundreds of thousands of dollars (with interest) she had seized without filing charges. That would soon change, however, quite dramatically.

• Not yet into podcasts? No problem. You can play the show directly through the link above. Or if you have an iPhone, you can search for the podcasts app, which is already on your phone. Once there, use the search and type in Voice of San Diego or I Made It in San Diego. Here’s a handy video on podcasts apps you can use on the iPhone or other types of phones.

Once you sync your phone to your car, and enjoy podcasts, you’ll never go back to radio.

 S.D. Schools Scrub Old Emails

Under fire for its fuzzy approach to transparency, the San Diego Unified School District will soon begin erasing all emails that are more than a year old. “District officials may also wipe away older emails that journalists and members of the public are currently seeking through the California Public Records Act,” our Ashly McGlone reports.

The school district hasn’t fully explained why it needs to get rid of emails. It’s mentioned millions of dollars in costs to keep them around, but those figures seem to apply to data and document storage in general.

San Diegans for Open Government and its attorney, Cory Briggs, filed a notice of intent to sue the district over the move. Also the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, or SPJ, issued a statement of concern about what the district is not clarifying with the move.

“Some journalists have told San Diego SPJ that they’ve had to wait months for email records. Some are concerned that the district could run out the clock on requests, deleting relevant emails before they can be released,” the group’s statement said.

School Rebuild Expands and Costs More

Memorial Preparatory Academy in the poor neighborhood of Logan Heights has a horrible reputation. Local parents are more likely to avoid Memorial Prep than any other San Diego Unified school.

For a while, we’ve reported on how district leaders and City Councilman David Alvarez, who went to the school, want to tear the campus down and rebuild. Now, our Ashly McGlone reports, officials are moving forward on a delayed timeline and a larger scale.

“Rather than close an elementary school that shares the campus to accommodate the rebuilt middle school and a new high school,” she reports, “the working plan now appears to preserve the campus’ mini-schools feel and expand to serve students in every grade.” That really means all grades, TK-12.

Climate Change: There Goes the S.D. Neighborhood?

The U-T (via the L.A. Times) looks at predictions about how bad coastal erosion could get as global warming continues: “Experts also warn that people should be prepared for unlikely but extreme scenarios of up to eight feet in sea-level rise, which would cause severe and chronic flooding in hundreds of coastal cities.”

Check the map of how much of the San Diego coastline could go under water by 2100 under a near-worst-case scenario: Much of San Diego and Chula Vista west of the I-5, a big part of the Point Loma area, and chunks of Imperial Beach and the Coronado peninsula could flood at least 26 times a year.

Diesel Drivers Get a Smog Un-Check

Smog checks are a minor hassle for drivers in California and, it turns out, nearly a non-hassle for big-rig drivers: They don’t have to get smogged on a regular basis. “And a provision in Senate Bill 1 — the $52 billion road-fixing law Brown signed amid much ballyhoo in the spring — exempts most diesel trucks from emissions-reduction requirements for many years ahead,” the L.A. Daily News reports. “Instead, the state will continue to rely on random inspections at weigh stations on the side of the road and at border crossings.”

Congress may snuff state rules that require multiple breaks for California truck drivers: “State rules would be pre-empted by federal regulations that require only a 30-minute rest break after eight hours of driving.” (L.A. Daily News)

A Shadow Across the Land… But How Much?

Some of the nation will see a total eclipse on Aug. 23. We won’t. But how much of the sun will vanish at 9:07 a.m.? Vox has created a handy eclipse tool that provides the answer: By around 10:23-10:25 a.m., the moon will cover roughly 58-60 percent of the sun in San Diego County, depending your location, leaving a dimmed sun that will look like a bit like a quarter moon.

North County Report: Transparency Blurred

This week’s VOSD North County Report looks at transparency in school districts, noting that parents are videotaping board meetings in the teeny-tiny Vallecitos school district in Rainbow near the county line because the district doesn’t record anything.

Also: Oceanside’s endless planning over Coast Highway may be ending, Oceanside’s mayor may be back after ailing, Escondido’s landmark police station is going to get bulldozed and Vista is very busy shutting down medical marijuana shops.

POTUS Transgender Ban in Military Fires Up San Diego Pols

President Trump’s tweets are a new feature of national government nobody seems to know how to handle. His tweeted announcement early Wednesday that he would not allow transgendered individuals to serve in the military provoked a lot of locals. Rep. Scott Peters was all over the news after announcing an effort to stop the move. San Diego’s mayor, Kevin Faulconer, put out a statement against the president’s decision.

“Any American who wants to serve and meets readiness standards should be able to, regardless of gender identity,” the mayor wrote.

(Here’s a good behind-the-scenes report on the Republican argument that produced the president’s tweets.)

Quick News Hits: Housing Prices Are Out of This World

• “The man accused of a series of attacks on homeless people that left four people dead was deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial,” Fox 5 reports. He’s also accused of killing an 83-year-old woman who wasn’t homeless and was attacked as she walked down University Avenue to a bus stop on her way to volunteer at a YMCA.

NBC 7 says Jon David Guerrero “will be sent to Patton State Hospital for treatment until he is competent to stand trial. It may be months, or years, before he stands trial on the charges.”

• Rep. Darrell Issa, his staff and the owner of his Vista office building have complained to the city about allegedly loud and disruptive anti-Issa protesters. “Whether it’s George Soros or the ACLU or the various groups that help them organize, they haven’t trained them how to do compliant protest,” Issa said in a phone message, the U-T reports. “Would you please come and enforce?”

• Embattled local Rep. Duncan Hunter has a second Republican challenger (he already has six Democratic ones). This rival doesn’t live within the East County district. (U-T)

• We’re not alone. The homeless have become more visible across the state in recent months, and the BBC notes that the homeless population in Los Angeles County has risen by almost a quarter over just a year to an estimated 58,000: “Young people — aged 18-24 — are the fastest growing group of homeless people, up 64%. And children without a home increased 41%.”

• The Calexit people are at it again with a bid to put another measure that won’t mean anything on the ballot.

• The Onion is mocking SeaWorld.

•  The Quote of the Week comes from an economist who talked to the L.A. Times about rising home prices in Southern California, including in San Diego County where they’re up 10 percent from last year to a median (not average) of $543,500: “Candidly, the only thing that could upset the apple cart in California is if we build a whole bunch of housing and that’s as likely as an alien attack.”

Aliens and apple carts, oh my! On the bright side, the attacking aliens won’t be able to find cheap rent either.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors ( Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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